Does Your Pig Hibernate? Behavioral patterns during the winter.

Does Your Pig Hibernate? Behavioral patterns during the winter.


Strange as it sounds it sometimes appears to be the case around here, we notice a definite change in temperament and response in the pigs during the winter months, or when it has been nice and temps drop again. Even the house pigs are affected to a certain degree.

This year we have heard from numerous folks with indoor pigs that seem to be filling the affects. We know it affects the outdoor pigs as we have watched them for the last seven or eight winters. There is very little activity, a little more arguing and growling among themselves and a tendency to not even particularly like people.

This is not too hard to understand as some of us are cranky and crabby during the winter months also, or at least I am. A week without sunshine and I am hard to live with.

Harley Hog trying to decide if he wants to come outside or not.

With these pigs however, it is almost like a semi-hibernation. They sleep most of the time, are less interested in anything going on around them, and only seem to come alive at feed time and even then it is not to the same degree as the rest of the year. They do not do the walking around the feed pans, the butting each other, and it sometimes seems to be an aggravation to them for us to bother them at all.

During the rest of the year we are met with squeals of delight and happy happy sounds. during the winter they grumble at us, make low throaty noises and really don’t care to be bothered with a belly rub or pat on the side. Pigs that have never swiped at us before will do it in the winter months and pigs that already have a reputation for it do it more often than I care to remember during the winter months.

Whether they are in a heated house or one full of straw they still show signs of winter depression. They are crabby and irritable and generally hard to get along with. They seem to want nothing from us other than their dinner and their blankets to lay in and cover up with.

Making them go out to do their business becomes a real battle of wills and one that we don’t always win. You would think that they would appreciate the fact that we shovel their walk out and “business areas” and keep it clean of snow before we ask them to make the dreaded trip outdoors, but that does not seem to be the case.

They also appear to not care as much about attention and fun things that they may have enjoyed the rest of the year. All in all it makes for a real strange relationship for a few months.

Maybe the answer is for us to semi-hibernate with them, but then who would shovel the snow? How many times can we apologize for it being winter again? Oh well, we have the consolation of knowing that is won’t last forever, even if it seems like it when it is happening.

Nothing, but putting up with a whole bunch of crabby, complaining, grouchy pigs for a few months could make us people appreciate Spring, RIGHT?

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